Friday, April 30, 2010

What Leads to Peace?

As we dedicate time and efforts to dialogue on peace and how to obtain peace in our land, we must try to find the answer to the above query: What leads to peace? I remember the age-old Latin proverb which I heard quoted by the late Archbishop Alberto Piamonte of Jaro, Iloilo, an expert canonist or one well-versed in Canon Law: Ideae regunt mundum (translate: It is ideas that rule the world). If the prevalent ideas ruling in a group or community are ideas of envy, revenge, hatred or suspicion, ambition and greed for material gains and pleasures, we may always have sparks of trouble here and there. But if people are guided by the "truth that sets us free", then we may enjoy more lasting peace and tranquility.

Let's consider the ideas irrespective of where they come from so long they are true. Partisan prejudices (even religious) can cloud our minds from the truth. Think about the validity of the ideas that follow.

Such for example: "Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets" (Mt. 7:12). "Do all you can to live at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge; leave that, my friends, to God's anger. As scripture says: "Vengeance is mine -- I will pay them back, the Lord promises. But there is more: "If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, if he is thirsty, let him drink. Thus you heap red-hot coals on his head. Resist evil and conquer it with good" (Rom. 12:18). "If you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either" (Mt. 6:14-15). Shall we not open our eyes to consider the consequences of the conflicts: waste of lives, the evacuations, the tears of mothers and children, the anguish of people in distress, just because some want to vent their anger and hatred on fellow human beings. Listen then to the words of wisdom: "What will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?" (Mt. 16:26). The value of life is unique, sacred and priceless. Is it worth multiplying the loose, unlicensed firearms that become the tools of death? "Love does no harm to the neighbor; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments" (Rom. 13:10). "The time has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon-- Let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no jealousy. Let your armor be the Lord Jesus Christ; forget about satisfying your bodies with all their cravings" (Rom. 13:11-14). Look at the scenario of the world. Can there every be peace if we don't ever learn the virtue of forgiveness? When will we ever learn?

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